USA says 'viral attack' among the theories in Cuba illnesses

Tillerson said returning to Cuba would be “putting people intentionally in harm’s way

Tillerson said returning to Cuba would be “putting people intentionally in harm’s way

But, overshadowing his trip were allegations that US diplomats suffered coordinated sonic attacks by the Cuban government beginning in the fall of 2016 that caused more than 20 diplomats and their spouses to experience permanent hearing loss, trouble with balance and other mild brain injuries.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have traveled to Havana to investigate the incidents but so far have not determined what caused the mystery illnesses.

"The findings suggest this is not an episode of mass hysteria", Rosenfarb said.

Following a meeting with Cuban officials Friday, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and supporter of U.S.

Cuba has decried the reductions as an unjustified blow to U.S.

Havana, Jan 10 (Prensa Latina) Cuba slammed as irresponsible statements made by Deputy Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Francisco Palmieri, regarding alleged health incidents suffered by Washington diplomats in Havana. But he offered no details or evidence.

"There is a long history and pattern of Cuban harassment of diplomats in Havana", Palmieri said, declining to speculate on why or if Raul Castro's regime had chosen to escalate. There's ultrasound. You know, there's a range of things that the technical experts are looking at as, could this be a possibility?

"At the end of the day, we know that there was an attack, that 24 Americans were hurt when they were working and living in Havana as part of the embassy".

Flake, one of U.S. President Donald Trump's toughest Republican critics, announced past year that he would not seek re-election as Senator from Arizona.

Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, the director of the State Department's medical unit, said doctors tested the victims extensively and found the symptoms were consistent with "mild traumatic brain injury", and stressed that the tests "are not easily faked", though no cause has been confirmed or ruled out.

The victims - at least 24 Americans, a mix of United States embassy personnel and their dependants - suffered headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability. Twenty-four United States government officials and spouses fell ill in Havana starting in 2016. The United States pulled out more than half of its personnel there in September.

"It's a documented fact that 24 USA government officials and spouses were victims of some sort of sophisticated attack while stationed in Havana", Rubio said Sunday.

Palmieri insisted that it is hard to believe that the attacks occurred without the knowledge of the government of Raul Castro and recalled that both President Trump and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have assured that the Cuban government "has responsibility in them".

On Monday, a State Department spokesperson told CNN that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided whether to form an Accountability Review Board to look into the security incidents and would announce that decision shortly, pending congressional notification. It will be in addition to other US probes, including one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The June visit to Havana by Dr. Jeffrey Chernin of Health Canada revealed symptoms similar to those experienced by US personnel in Cuba, the internal Global Affairs Canada notes say. Cuba says the mysterious string of illnesses has been unjustly used to damage relations between the two countries - which were partially restored under President Barack Obama.

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